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More opportunities for VC resellers as UFB rollout takes off

Videoconferencing resellers should be targeting the SMB market as VC solutions become more and more affordable and the Ultra Fast Broadband (UFB) rollout gets underway, says Vaughan Nankivell, ANZ business manager for the Huawei Enterprise division of Simms, soon to be rebranded as Expressonline.

"The costly bandwidth affected the uptake of videoconferencing as mainstream as it should be by now," says Nankivell. "That is about to change with the UFB rollout. UFB is very important for us and New Zealand. It seems strange that it's taken so long," he says, adding that he expects deals to start coming in "and not just from the traditional guys". "We will see a lot more competition. Videoconferencing will become as simple as switching on a PC."

Nankivell says this is the time for SMBs to be looking at investing in videoconferencing solutions and, as such, there are many opportunities out there for resellers in this area.

"The gear is now more affordable than ever before -- you have sub-$10,000 prices. Bandwidth is more available and you can do videoconferencing over 3G," he explains. "It's an SMB product now, it's affordable. There are solutions out that that are the price of a decent laptop."

He says that in spite of the uptake in solutions, there is also money to be made from videoconferencing hardware.

Simms has a "focus group of resellers" for Huawei's portfolio of solutions, managed by Nankivell. The GM says it is important to keep that number small and ensure that the channel gets the best possible margins. "We don't want to be like all other guys. We've got some great partners in New Zealand of all sizes. It is all about margins for the channel," he says.

The distributor currently works with about 15 Huawei channel partners in New Zealand and the goal is to increase that number to 20 to 25 partners. "We don't want more than that. We want to keep the value for the channel," says the GM. "We want to focus on partners who do good volumes and enjoy it, partners that make Huawei part of their core business."

Simms will rebrand as Expressonline during the first half of this year, following the company's acquisition by the trading division of Express Data Holdings last year. Nankivell says the name change is on track to happen in the coming months, with some changes to be made in terms of logistics and internal IT systems. "No changes to customers, it'll be transparent, business as usual," he says.


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